President ends official visit to Germany with praise

Ending an official visit to Germany, the President of the Assembly Liliane Maury Pasquier has praised Germany's exemplary commitment to the defence of human rights, democracy and the rule of law - the values that are at the heart of the Council of Europe's mission.

"It is highly symbolic to visit Berlin a few days after the 30th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Wall - a pivotal event in the process of European integration. With the reunification of Germany, Europeans have resolutely shown their determination to be divided no longer, and to work - together - for peace, democracy and human rights. This is an objective that the Council of Europe set itself 70 years ago at the time of its creation.”

Confronted with the "retreat of democracy, human rights and the rule of law", the President called for dialogue and co-operation between all member States in order to preserve our shared body of standards. "It is true that, weakened by numerous attacks in our member states and in our neighbourhood, democracy is now progressing fitfully.”

“I share the concerns of my interlocutors about developments in some of our countries, particularly with regard to authoritarian tendencies and the decline of fundamental freedoms. We do not have ‘miracle cures’ to solve them, but the many Council of Europe conventions, our monitoring mechanisms and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights are concrete tools to help us stay on course.”

“As parliamentarians from our 47 member States, we must - without hesitation - address through frank and open dialogue the problems that set back the values we defend in order to preserve the quality of democracy and the solidity of our institutions, in the interest of our fellow citizens. In this context, I welcome the active engagement of the many members of the German delegation to the Assembly who defend and strengthen the Council of Europe's acquis by preparing important reports in several of our committees," the President said. The visit was also an opportunity to hold an exchange of views on the establishment of the new joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly in the event of a serious breach by a member State of its statutory obligations, and on the need to provide the Council of Europe with adequate financial resources to enable it to fulfil its political mission.

"The strong support of Germany - which will chair the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in 2020 - is essential to progress on these issues and I thank the authorities for their political and diplomatic commitment," the President continued. Finally, during her visit, Liliane Maury Pasquier took part in a round table discussion dedicated to the #NotInMyParliament initiative against sexism, harassment and violence against women, organised in the Bundestag by the German delegation to the Assembly, in which Claudia Roth, Vice-President of the Bundestag, participated. "By denouncing and combating any manifestation of sexism, harassment or hate speech in the first place within our parliaments, we set an example for our fellow citizens.

The #NotInMyParliament campaign - #NichtInMeinemParlament - is a concrete tool at our disposal," the President said. During her meeting with Franziska Giffey, Minister for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the President also welcomed the Government's initiatives, including the launch of the campaign "Protecting Women from Violence" ("Frauen vor Gewalt schützen") and the future creation of an Institute for Equality.

"The Assembly supports Germany's efforts to promote equality and combat violence against women, in particular in the context of the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The Assembly's parliamentary networks, in particular the ‘Women without Violence’ network and the ‘Parliamentary Alliance against Hate’, are at the disposal of the Bundestag to provide examples of good practice and specific expertise," the President concluded.